Saturday, 28 July 2012
The MDC National Executive met today to receive a report and consider the
draft Constitution concluded by the Parliamentary Select Committee and
Management Committee of Copac.
After extensive deliberations, the executive committee was satisfied that
the draft Constitution essentially captures the views of the people of
Zimbabwe and represents an incremental gain in the democratisation process.
As such the executive committee resolved to support the draft Constitution
and will recommend the same to national council of the party, which is
scheduled to meet on Friday 3 August 2012.
The national executive noted that some of the positive aspects of this draft
The resolution of the question of citizenship by firstly, guaranteeing
citizenship to Zimbabweans who were previously denied citizenship and
secondly allowing dual citizenship to Zimbabweans by birth.
The establishment of foundations for strong democratic institutions that
include; a stronger Parliament to effect checks and balances on the
Executive while providing for a strong and accountable President and the
creation of independent commissions including the gender commission.
The provision of comprehensive mechanisms for equal representation of women
in Parliament through the Zebra system in the Upper House and provision of a
quota in the Lower House.
An expanded and comprehensive Bill of Rights that guarantees equality of all
persons and now provides for economic, social and cultural rights including
the rights of children and workers.
The devolution of power to the provinces.
The establishment of the National Prosecution Authority and the
Freedom of the Press and Media.
Although there are some things that the MDC may have wanted included in the
Constitution, the MDC respects the will of the people of Zimbabwe and the
fact that some aspects of this Constitution had to be negotiated.
The party resolved that the people of Zimbabwe must be given opportunity to
decide on the draft through a referendum.
Hon. Douglas Mwonzora
The people’s struggle for real change – Let’s finish it!!!
27 July 2012
Chris Gande | Washington
Stung by accolades showered on Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai while
visiting Australia this week, President Robert Mugabe responded in a
thinly-veiled attack, insinuating his ruling partner is being used by the
West to work against the interests of ordinary Zimbabweans.
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard early this week likened Mr.
Tsvangirai to former South African President Nelson Mandela and such other
icons as Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
"You are a hero. Like Nelson Mandela, like Aung San Suu Kyi, like Xanana
Gusmao - you are one of the remarkable figures of our times,” Gillard said
to Mr. Tsvangirai at a luncheon in his honor.
But an unimpressed Mugabe scolded Mr. Tsvangirai in a speech when he
officially launched a share ownership scheme for villagers living in the
controversial Marange diamond zone.
He warned the prime minister, without naming him, that he would be a fool if
he allowed the praise to go to his head, adding the accolades were going
Tsvangirai's way so he can divide the people.
Mr. Mugabe also dismissed critics of the Zanu PF-hatched empowerment
program, urging those in the Diaspora to return and take part in the
Prime Minister Tsvangirai, who is expected back home Saturday, appealed to
Australia to lift targeted sanctions imposed on Mugabe and his inner circle
by the West in 2002 over charges of rights violations.
Organizing secretary, Nelson Chamisa, of the Tsvangirai MDC party said Mr.
Mugabe’s attack was uncalled for considering Tsvangirai had gone out of his
way to defend the president and call for the removal of restrictions.
Commentator Nkululeko Sibanda, a lecturer at the Huddersfield university in
London, told VOA Mr. Mugabe's remarks lack political maturity.
Written by Correspondent
Saturday, 28 July 2012 14:07
HARARE - Deputy Prime Minister, Arthur Mutambara has joined the raging
succession fray by encouraging President Robert Mugabe to step down and pass
the baton to an elected successor.
Mutambara told delegates to a three-day Institute of People Management of
Zimbabwe (IPMZ) 2012 National Convention in Victoria Falls which started on
Wednesday that the country had been robbed of growth by the 88-year-old’s
refusal to step aside and pass on the baton to others.
Mutambara said it was high time the country had a new president and
challenged the electorate to take a leaf from United States of America (USA)
that had five different presidents since 1979.
“We need to allow new leaders with more energy. Can you imagine if Carter
was still the president of America since 1979, it would mean there will be
no legacy and there will no Bush senior, Clinton, Bush junior and there will
be no Obama,” said Mutambara.
He said the changing of presidents had brought progress in the USA.
“Look what those five presidents have done. There is new energy, new people,
new excitement and growth in USA.
“If Carter was still the president of America today, it would have denied
the opportunity to those five people to bring new ideas in the country,”
Mutambara’s comments come at a time when President Mugabe is battling to
hold back the tide of calls from some members of his Zanu PF party to
relinquish his stranglehold on the party leadership amid deepening divisions
over his successor.
Mugabe has been a Zimbabwean leader since 1980.
But in March 2008 he lost the first round of a presidential election to his
bitter rival Morgan Tsvangirai in which another presidential hopeful, Simba
Makoni played the spoilsport role.
None of the presidential candidates received an outright majority forcing a
runoff in June that Mugabe went on to ‘‘win’’ when Tsvangirai withdrew from
the race in protest over violence against his supporters.
After the controversial and disputed run off, Mugabe and Tsvangirai however,
went on to form a government of national unity.
27 July 2012
Sithandekile Mhlanga | Washington
Zimbabwe's health ministry says it has secured additional funding from
donors in the United Kingdom and the United States to increase the number of
people receiving life-saving anti-retroviral drugs.
Deputy health minister Dr. Douglas Mombeshora said the fund would allow the
country to add at least 60,000 people living with HIV onto the ARV program
that is already assisting 80,000 patients.
Mombeshora, who did not disclose the total amount, was speaking with VOA on
the sidelines of the 19th International HIV/Aids conference that ended in
The United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the
President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in the United States
will provide the resources.
Mombeshora said the donors were pleased with the success and progress that
Zimbabwe is making in implementing HIV/Aids programs, hence the additional
“We have been working closely with the British and United States governments
and they are obviously pleased with the way we are managing the programs,"
"The additional 60,000 will narrow the gap of people requiring HIV/Aids
treatment in the country.”
Dr. Angela Mushavi is the National Prevention Mother-to-Child Transmission
(PMTCT) and Paediatric HIV Care and Treatment Coordinator in the health
ministry. She says government has learnt a lot from the conference.
"We have learnt a lot that will help enhance the prevention of
mother-to-child transmission of HIV in the country and many other programs
that we are working on. In this day and era, no child should be born with
HIV," she said.
Speaking at the plenary session Friday morning, Dr. Yogan Pillay, South
Africa's strategic health programs director, said African countries have
made outstanding progress in fighting HIV/Aids.
But, he added, more donor funding is needed to maintain the efforts.
News Editor 27/07/2012 11:06:00
Zanu PF has summoned Midlands provincial chairman Jason Machaya to appear
before its politburo to explain the province’s rejection of the party’s
decision to disband district co-ordinating committees (DCCs), impeccable
sources said yesterday.
Machaya, who is also Midlands governor, was also expected to answer charges
that his province had instead proposed the disbandment of the politburo.
During the meeting at which secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa
presented the party position on DCCs, several Midlands officials, notably
Zanu PF’s Parliament chief whip and central committee member Joram Gumbo,
allegedly made their position clear that disbanding DCCs was not welcome.
Gumbo’s alleged attack on the decision to scrap DCCs, described by party
leader President Robert Mugabe as “divisive”, has been viewed as a revolt.
According to party insiders, the politburo is expected to tackle Gumbo’s
case at a special meeting today.
“Gumbo openly said the decision to disband the DCCs was wrong as it exposed
other party members who are now laughed at. This did not go well with party
chairman Simon Khaya Moyo, who viewed it as disrespect of the politburo,”
said the source.
“Khaya Moyo has summoned Machaya to appear before the politburo to explain
why a senior member like Gumbo had embarrassed the politburo in front of
Gumbo is believed to belong to the Emmerson Mnangagwa faction which is
embroiled in a fierce battle of succession against another faction allegedly
led by Vice-President Joice Mujuru.
Defence minister Mnangawa’s faction had beaten the rival faction in the DCC
battle in most provinces.
Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo yesterday denied Machaya had been summoned
to appear before the politburo.
“It is mere speculation. The politburo never discussed such things,” Gumbo
Today’s meeting is also expected to feature a showdown between Tsholotsho MP
Jonathan Moyo and Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana, the Zanu PF co-chairperson in
the parliamentary constitution-making body, Copac, over the draft
Mangwana and Moyo have recently engaged in no-holds-barred verbal
altercations over the draft constitution.
“Tomorrow (today), it will be a showdown between Moyo and Mangwana,” the
Gumbo (Rugare) confirmed the development yesterday saying: “There was not
much we discussed on Wednesday. We are going to debate it tomorrow
(today).” - NewsDay
Bulawayo, July 28, 2012-The Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Obert
Mpofu has vowed not to remit money from Marange diamond proceeds to the
Ministry of Finance which is headed by Tendai Biti from the MDC-T.
Speaking during the official opening of the Mining, Engineering and
Transport (Mine Entra) in Bulawayo on Thursday evening, Mpofu accused
minister Biti of " reaping where he didn’t sow." by pleading with Mpofu’s
ministry to remit diamonds proceeds into the national treasury.
“Biti is a liar. The mining industry is the largest contributor to the
country’s economy. Biti has never supported the mining sector yet he wants
to reap where he did not sow,” said Mpofu.
Mpofu claimed that the mining industry is contributing two thirds of the
He also boasted that that he recently bought the Zimbabwe Allied Banking
Group (ZABG) bank to support the country's mining industry.
Presenting his Mid-Term Fiscal policy in Parliament Biti last week minister
Biti said he was forced to cut his 2012 budget from US$4 billion to US$3, 4
billion, blaming poor revenue inflows from diamonds from the Marange fields.
He said of the US$600 million which was expected from diamond sales this
year, only US$41, 6 million had been received during the first half of the
Commenting on last week’s industrial action by civil servants Biti said the
civil servants should ask Mpofu where money from Marange diamonds sales is
going, instead of continue blaming him.
Sapa-dpa | 28 July, 2012 10:53
Famine has raised its head in Zimbabwe again, as the numbers of people
depending on aid to avoid starvation soared by 60% from last year to 1.6
million, according to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).
The agency said that one in five of the country's rural people were in need
of famine relief. Grain production in the last year was 1 million tonnes,
the worst since 2009, which at 800 000 tonnes was the worst year on record.
Zimbabwe had a reputation as "Africa's breadbasket" until 2000 when
President Robert Mugabe launched his violent seizures of white-owned farms,
forcing 1 500 white farmers of their land and displacing a million farm
workers and their families.
The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have said that year
marked the beginning of the collapse of one of Africa's most successful
The latest figures were released after a lengthy study by UN agencies, the
Zimbabwe government and non-governmental organisations involved in
Already, the report said, rural residents of the country were feeling the
effects of the food shortages, a pattern marked by empty domestic granaries
and farmers selling their cattle to raise money to buy food.
The report blamed erratic rainfall, low supplies of seed and fertilizer, and
bad farming practices.
At the height of the last rainy season, farmers unions slammed a supply
arrangement set-up by government officials. Political figures in Mugabe's
Zanu-PF party snapped up cheap fertiliser and seed and sold large quantities
of it at inflated prices while peasant farmers waited helplessly.
During the current winter wheat season, promises of cheap supplies from the
government also came to nothing, resulting in the lowest wheat crop forecast
yet of 5 000 tonnes.
The WFP said it would rely on "regionally procured cereals" to make up the
country's current shortfall.
Commentators have pointed out that the biggest regional producer is Zambia,
where scores of white farmers moved and became large-scale producers again
after being driven off their land in Zimbabwe in the last decade.
by Gilbert Nyambabvu
ROYAL bank has handed over its operating, becoming the third financial
institution to collapse in the last two months.
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor, Gideon Gono, confirmed the development to
NewZimbabwe.com Friday, adding a full statement would be issued on
Monday.The bank had struggled to meet minimum capital requirements which
have since been increased to US$12 million for commercial banks but
officials had insisted a deal would soon be tied up with Kenya-based
Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA).
Said chief executive, Jeffrey Mzwimbi in March this year: "We have been in
discussions with a number of private equity and banking investors who are
interested in investing in Royal Bank and naturally we are excited that a
bank of CBA's size and market stature is interested in investing in Royal
"As is customary for large investments of this nature, the investment by CBA
will require various approvals which we are working on."
However, the latest development suggests the negotiations were not
Royal Bank becomes the second bank to give up its licence after Genesis
Investment Bank was also closed last month having failed to raise funds to
meet the statutory capital requirements.
The central bank was also forced to place Interfin Bank under curatorship to
prevent wider systemic problems as the institution teetered on the brink of
collapse due to inadequate capitalisation, poor management and high levels
of non-performing insider and related party exposures.
Meanwhile, addressing this year’s Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI)
congress in Nyanga on Friday RBZ governor, Gideon Gono new measures would be
introduced to ensure the stability of the country’s financial services
“Maintenance of banking safety and soundness is essential, given the key
role played by banks in facilitating economic growth. Accordingly, the
current reforms in the banking sector, which place more emphasis on the need
for banks to be adequately capitalised, through mergers and acquisitions
will be sustained and strengthened,” he said.
“Experiences in Zimbabwe demonstrate the need for effective corporate
governance within the financial institutions as most bank failures are due
to weaknesses in corporate governance.
“Proposed amendments to the Banking Act seek to improve the legal and
regulatory environment in the country, as well as tackle specific issues
currently being faced by banks such as abusing depositors’ funds through
Published on Saturday 28 July 2012 06:00
AN ASYLUM seeker from Zimbabwe who had been refused British residency sent
several poignant messages to his partner in the last moments before he was
Factory worker Bee Moyo, 45, came to the UK five years ago but was upset
after having been refused a resident’s permit, an inquest in Rotherham
He argued with his new partner Sibonakele, whose surname is also Moyo, and
stormed out of the house saying he was going to hang himself from a tree in
some local woods.
The hearing was told the father-of-six sent a series of texts in the early
hours of March 12 this year to Ms Moyo, who he had wanted to marry.
He had accused her of having an affair which she had strenuously denied.
His first text, timed at 12.37am, said: “I’m going to marry the tree.
Goodnight and goodbye and have a good life.”
The next text at 2.46am read: “Just getting ready. Tell my people.” At
3.21am he texted: “I’m sorry.”
Ten minutes later another message said: “Goodbye Sibonakele. Tell them what
At 3.40am he texted: “Are you ready to tell the truth or what?”
After being alerted by Mr Moyo’s partner, police mounted a frantic search in
Ferham Park, Masbrough, shining powerful torches into the trees.
Officers could not find him in their initial search but later located his
body hanging from a tree at 5.57.
Ms Moyo told the hearing she moved in with her partner in December last year
at his home in Cavendish Road, Holmes, Rotherham. He had six children, two
in Leeds and four back in Zimbabwe.
Although they had talked of marriage he “seemed unhappy”. While she worked
he had lost his job and he was a proud man.
“He was a good man and wanted to contribute,” she said. “He thought his
children were suffering.”
Mr Moyo accused her of having an affair which she was adamant was untrue and
then Mr Moyo told her he was leaving to hang himself from a tree.
He then rang to say he was in Ferham Park. “He took nothing with him and did
not have a drink or take any medication or drugs,” she said.
She tried to talk him out of ending his life but he remained in that
mindset. She did not know whether he intended to kill himself or whether it
was a cry for help.
Police found the body hanging from a tree with a ligature made of tights.
Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation failed.
Rotherham coroner Nicola Mundy said as well as his residency application
being refused by the Home Office, Mr Moyo was out of work which affected his
self-esteem and he was unable to provide for his children financially.
“Clearly he was struggling to cope with matters and sending texts to his
partner and friends indicating his intention to end his life,” she said.
“Such was his partner’s concern she left work and got back in the early
hours and spent time trying to persuade him there was a solution but despite
her efforts he wouldn’t be dissuaded.”
Ms Mundy recorded an open verdict saying there was a possibility that Mr
Moyo had intended to be found and resuscitated.
Seven-time Olympic medallist Kirsty Coventry is a symbol of hope in her native country of Zimbabwe. JOE spoke to her as she prepared for her fourth Olympics.
By Mark O'Toole
There will be around 10,500 athletes from 204 nations participating in the London 2012 Olympics over the coming weeks and none are probably more important to their country than Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe.
The swimmer competed in all three Olympics of the previous decade, winning a gold, a silver and a bronze in Athens and three silvers and a gold in Beijing four years later.
Now at 28 she enters her fourth Olympics in London as Zimbabwe’s second-ever Olympic medallist since they were recognised as an independent state in 1980, three years before Kirsty’s birth.
In one of the world’s most divided and economically destitute nations, Kirsty’s success and demeanour have shone like a beacon of pride for all Zimbabweans, regardless of colour, social-standing or political affiliation. Robert Mugabe has christened her the nation’s “Golden Girl” post her 2008 success. She’s also white. It’s complicated.
Sport can be dangerous in Zimbabwe whatever your background. Henry Olonga and Andy Flower were black and white respectively, but were effectively exiled in the wake of their protest against Mugabe’s tyranny in 2003. White cricket captain Heath Streak’s father’s farm was seized for redistribution as part of the forceful repossession of land by Mugabe’s government.
Mugabe, like a lot of dictators, will associate himself with successful sports people, while punishing any sports star that voices opposition to his reign.
Outside of sport, things have quietened down since the near-civil war between Mugabe’s Zanu PF and current Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC in 2008, though elections are due to take place this year. The country has experienced over 90 per cent unemployment in the past few years and hyperinflation has seen the introduction of such extreme measures as the Zimbabwean trillion dollar bill.
In short, things have been very difficult but in Coventry they have possibly the only unifying force in the country.
Kirsty Coventry: Zimbabwean on a pedestal
When I speak to Kirsty she is in peppy form, bright and engaging, I immediately ask her a downer question – it must be a lot of pressure being seen in that way and being put on a pedestal?
“Yeah I think being somewhat removed from it on a daily basis,” she answers before pausing to consider her next word as she is careful about this sensitive subject, “I’m maybe put on a pedestal and lot of people look up to me, but that’s what’s driving me and encouraging me.
“So I’ve been very lucky with the community in Zimbabwe being behind me and backing me up, it’s such an honour...such a great honour,” she says.
“I’m very proud to be Zimbabwean and to represent Zimbabwe. I’ve always tried not to read too much or involve too much politics in my sport...it’s not ignorance, I mean I know exactly what’s going on...” she says saliently, before offering a nearby and immediate vision for what sport can do in Zimbabwe.
“You know if you look at other countries like South Africa and what a rugby game can do to unify a country and that’s how I kind of want to look at and approach my sport in swimming,” referring to the 1995 World Cup win for Zimbabwe’s neighbours that healed some rifts leftover by apartheid a few years previously.
It’s a positive, yet non-confrontational approach that Kirsty evidentially wants to adopt, you mention her words after the 2008 World Short Course Championship, the closest she came to making a political statement in the past:
“I know that's part of why I'm doing what I do. I hope it makes a difference and gives people back home hope that things will change for the better. People have to remain positive and believe in those dreams. It's really important."
Her tone turns from peppy to serious for a moment when you repeat these words to her, it’s clear that this is an important point.
“It is really important. You have to believe in yourself and each other."
It was at the Olympics in 2004 that Kirsty first broke onto the scene, winning three medals (a bronze in the 200m Individual Medley, a silver in the 100metres backstroke and a gold in the 200metres backstroke. Beijing brought more medals but it sounds like she is taking London 2012 in her stride.
“I’m going to be swimming three events, the 100metre backstroke, the 200m backstroke and the 200m Individual medley, I decided to drop the 400m after dislocating my knee and getting pneumonia a couple of months ago.
“I’m looking to go to London to have fun and enjoy it and I’m confident with my training and where I am and my experience. This being my fourth Olympics...I’d love to get on the podium, I know it’s going to be a lot harder than in previous years, but I’m up for that challenge.”
Regardless of the outcome at these Olympics she’s taking some time off to relax before embarking on another chapter of her life. After a safari holiday at home, politics looms for Kirsty
Having worked with Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s charitable foundation Lapdesk Kirsty hopes to become one of four new athlete representatives on International Olympics Committee.
“Yeah, you know I’d love to be involved with the IOC in the future in any way I can. I’d love to do that and regardless of when I retire I would love to stay involved in my sport and sports in general especially having seen the impact that I’ve been able to make at home and I’d love to carry that on.
“I’d love to keep that part of my life and bridge that gap between business and sports and seeing it grow because as I said sport is wonderful way to bring people together. “
Whether in the pool or in parliament, Zimbabwe needs her. Mugabe may only be right about one thing the past few years.
She is their Golden Girl.
July 28th, 2012
Perched on top a mountain in the leafy suburb of
Harare is a range of imposing villas that to the outsider must appear to be out
of sync with the sprawling squatter camps like Porta Farm, Caledonia Farm and
the mushrooming squatter camp near to Borrowdale. These shanty towns act as
footnotes to the mansions dotted across the skyline. Yet this is the reality in
Zimbabwe. This is a two faced country, emphasising
with an ever widening gap
between the rich and poor, for in Zimbabwe it is patently obvious that the rich
get richer and the poor get poorer. The upper classestoday consist mainly of
politicians, army bosses and other business owners and farming magnates. We all
know where they got their massive assets from and at whose expense. What amazes me is someone like Obert Mpofu, who has bought
up scores of properties in Zimbabwe and recently funded the Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group (ZABG) to the tune of
US$22,8 million through his company Trebor Khays. (Trebor being an anagram of
Obert). He claims he is just a “ shrewd businessman”, does he really think we
are so stupid? “Finance Minister Tendai Biti recently said he found it difficult
to relate the wealth accumulated by cabinet colleagues to their monthly
government salaries of just US$800.” Another of Mpofu’s businesses is Kahanondo Safaris, who offer the best of upmarket tourism, and whose fleet
of vehicles for hire make the poor locals drool with envy as they are forced to
travel in dangerous ‘chovvas’ and can only dream about leather interiors and
sleek mercs. Harare is like the Mercedes Benz capital of the world, as they are
now so common, and around the city it is no longer surprising to see top of the
range Hummers, Lamborghinis and other fancy cars racing around. These nouveau
riche prefer not to shop in Zimbabwe, and rather fly to foreign countries and
grab whatever they can lay their hands on, while the rest of us poor souls
languish in Zimbabwe, living in squalid conditions. Our politician think nothing of a jaunt
off to Rio, gobbling up US$7 million, at of all things a Sustainable Development
Conference. The cost to the tax payer for these jaunts was reported in SW
Radio, In his 2012 Budget Review the Finance Minister had warned about the
extravagant travel costs of senior officials, saying $45.5 million had been
blown on foreign trips last year. This averages out to about $4 million per
month being spent on travel by government officials. Then of course there are
Mugabe’s regular trips to the Far East, his health care costs would build new
hospitals in this country.
It is a sad tale of two realities in Zimbabwe – a country with so much promise, yet only for the few with political connections and who have relatives in influential positions. The promise, “houses for all by 2000” has came to naught and so have mostother government sponsored initiatives. Millions of Zimbabweans live in hardship and only a fraction in opulence. The poor live in squatter camps, their children do not go to school as there are not employed, while the rich drive latest vehicles send their children to the most expensive schools and have practically everything at theirbeck and call. This is Zimbabwe, a country where the dreams of the nation have been deferred, not because people are not ready to live modestly (like what I read about in Greece) but simply because those in power make it impossible for the sons and daughters of this great nation to realise their dreams.
Dear David and Eddie,
Peter Schaeffer, a writer, researcher, and businessman who has advised the US Congress and numerous government agencies on issues relating to the political and economic transformation of less developed countries, with a particular focus on property rights and served for several years as the Senior Advisor to the head of USAID wrote this to me yesterday in relation to those that are supporting the draft constitution:
“What Locke was saying was that government's fundamental (essential) role was to protect the citizens' personal security, personal property and personal choices. They are not simply interrelated, they are interconnected and form the foundation for everything else. A three-legged stool, if you will. One may be good at balancing for a while, but eventually we all have to sleep and then a two legged stool tips over.
Sorry, compromise is great, but the MDC seems intent on ceding fundamental principles, not just tactical matters. They will regret it.”
I hope this is of use.
In his reply to Ben Freeth’s letter, David Coltart said that the land
provisions are “racially discriminatory and should never be in any modern
democratic constitution.” He also said that even worse than these land
provisions was that “far too much power is still vested in the executive.”
In other words, the constitution abrogates fundamental human rights and does
not contain the necessary checks and balances to constrain Presidential
powers. Yet, Coltart argues that we cannot “pick and choose” which elements
we like, and urges us to accept the constitution in its entirety or risk
subverting the whole process. His argument is baseless on a number of
The first is that human rights and the separation of powers, amongst others,
are not minor elements but the core pillars upon which a democratic
constitution stands or falls. Remove one of those pillars and the whole
edifice of the constitution crumbles. Equally worrying, is that the
constitution specifically contradicts the rulings of the SADC Tribunal which
were based on international customary law and the Vienna Convention on the
Law of Treaties. As ZANU(PF) systematically discredited and dismantled the
Tribunal, the MDC did nothing but maintain a shameful silence. Now Coltart
is asking the people to do that same: turn a blind eye to grievous flaws
inserted into the constitution at the behest of those who militate against
the Tribunal and international law.
The second argument Coltart uses is that if we do not accept this deeply
flawed document we will play into the hands of ZANU(PF) hardliners. But,
hold on a minute ... are the people of Zimbabwe being asked to judge the
draft constitution on its own merits or to make a political decision? Is
Coltart asking us to blindly accept the founding law by which we are to be
governed, and to vote along party lines for a document conceived through an
elite political pact? Just because Jonathan Moyo is rejecting it for
political reasons, do the people of Zimbabwe also have to accept it for
political reasons? But there is more. By my reading of the constitution, the
MDC has already played into the hands of the hardliners by capitulating on
human rights, executive powers, and the question of justice.
The third argument on which Coltart can be challenged is his notion that the
draft constitution will lead to more accountability, more democracy, and the
loss of power by hardliners. This is an odd claim given that, by Coltart’s
own admission, the new constitution makes “the fundamental error of thinking
that men can be trusted with power.” Indeed, it is possible that such
unconscionable executive powers could remain in the hands on Robert Mugabe
or his successor. If so, this is hardly likely to lead to a loss of power by
hardliners. But even this misses a central point. The constitution (whether
it is the new or old) and the rule of law are irrelevant to hardliners. If
Robert Mugabe blatantly disregarded the last constitution, why should he
abide by the new one? By what constitutional authority, for example, does
the President instruct the police to defy court orders and ignore their
constitutional duty to protect the people from atrocities committed by his
party supporters? The truth of the matter is that they subverted the old
constitution and then inserted the offending clauses in the new draft
constitution. Is this what Coltart’s is trying to sell us as “an all out bid
to protect people”?
The fourth argument Coltart advances is his now infamous line that “we just
do not have any other options.” This is his ‘killer quote’ to convince any
doubters that unless we, like the MDC, compromise with a regime that has
brought nothing but poverty, humiliation and misery – and which created a
Diaspora that has conveniently been denied the vote – matters will only get
worse. The MDC won elections and ceded power because ‘they had no other
option’; they legitimised the seizure of farms based on race because ‘they
had no other option’. When Mugabe refused on budge on any GPA reforms, they
joined him by calling for the removal of sanctions because ‘they had no
other option’. Although the MDC has given in on almost every major political
decision, including principles of natural justice, Coltart denies the charge
of appeasement. Instead, he claims there is no non-violent “practical
alternative”. Perhaps this is because he mistakes non-violence for pacifism
and collusion rather than as a mode of struggle and resistance against
But now, we the people do have an option to decide upon whether or not to
adopt the draft constitution. We must deliberate and discuss the merits and
flaws of the draft constitution rigorously and openly. We must decide
whether any president should be trusted with such sweeping constitutional
powers. If necessary, we should sink this rickety and leaky ferry and start
afresh with a sturdy and seaworthy vessel of state that can confidently
withstand the constitutional gales and storms that lie ahead. But, above
all, we must not be blackmailed into accepting the unacceptable.
Harare, 28 July 2012
Dear Family and Friends,
Sitting in empty cardboard boxes on the pavement outside a
supermarket, two little children paint a vivid picture of life in
urban Zimbabwe today. It’s been three and half years since the
winners of our 2008 elections were forced to share power with the
losers and life isn’t easy for most people. In February 2009 when
our own currency became so worthless that we changed to the US dollar,
rent for a couple of rooms in a high density area was US$20 a month,
now its US$100 a month. Electricity for those two rooms was US$15 in
2009, now its US$50. A litre of fuel in February 2009 was 75 cents,
now its US$1.45 making every trip in a commuter minibus burn a hole in
already empty pockets.
The mothers of the children sitting in cardboard boxes are unemployed
but keep food on the family table by selling goods on the pavements.
They’ve got everything from fruit and veg to sweets, cigarettes,
biscuits, belts, carrier bags, cell phones, batteries, socks, watches,
hair extensions and anything small and lightweight you can think of.
Their prices are usually lower than in the supermarkets they sit
outside and it’s a constant war. The vendors are selling illegally,
they don’t pay rent, rates, taxes or have any overheads and are a
constant headache to legitimate shop keepers, health officials and
police. It’s very hard not to support the vendors when you know
that’s their only way of supporting their families but equally hard
not to sympathise with shop owners who are struggling to stay afloat
amidst ever increasing wage and utilities costs.
These two little poppets in their empty fruit boxes watch wide- eyed
as Zimbabwe passes them by on a late winter morning whipped by a cold
wind. Less than fifty metres from their little boxes a huge mound of
garbage sprawls across the pavement and into the road. Ash, plastic
bags, bottles, rotting banana skins, batteries and the inevitable
flies and rats. The pile has been there for a couple of weeks but
local authorities seem unable to see it. A few metres away a vagrant
wearing filthy rags is asleep, sprawled right across the pavement but
local officials seem unable to see him.
From their cardboard boxes the eyes of the two children grow wide as a
quad bike roars past carrying two policemen in uniform but not wearing
crash helmets. Outside the bank a man walks past carrying a generator
on his shoulder and inside the bank I queue to pay a bill. The amount
owing is US$10 but the bank charges an additional US$2 to accept the
The sights seen by two children in a cardboard box on a pavement is a
dramatic contrast to those seen by our eight member Olympic team at
the opening ceremony. Smiling and waving they carry our flag high and
we are so proud of them: Kirsty Coventry, Christopher Felgate, James
Fraser Mackenzie, Wirimai Juwawo, Ngonidzashe Makusha, Cuthbert
Nyasango, Sharon Tavengwa and Micheen Thornycroft.
Perhaps one day two children who started off in a cardboard box will
also have the chance to show the world what Zimbabweans can do,
regardless of their skin colour and ancestral background or of the
incessant dirty, greedy political fighting that suffocates all of our
lives. Until next time, thanks for reading, love cathy. 28th July
2012. Copyright � Cathy Buckle. www.cathybuckle.com
July 28, 2012, 4:50 am
The issue of sanctions has dominated this week’s world news. Sanctions, you
could say are the 20th/21st century alternative to military intervention
which in the end solves nothing and brings down suffering and death on
innocent citizens. Syria is the particular country that has brought the
sanctions issue into focus. The opponents to Assad’s rule claim that the
west is not doing enough to support them in their attempts to topple the man
they regard as a tyrant and dictator. Without a UN resolution, the west
replies, we cannot act and Russia and China have consistently blocked such a
resolution. So the fighting goes on in Syria in what is virtually a civil
war in a country riven by religious and ethnic divisions.
Zimbabwe, however, is not in a state of civil war but, despite having a
Government of National Unity, the country is ruled by a man with a history
of violence who has surrounded himself with partisan police and military who
are ready to use force against those who oppose Mugabe’s regime. The western
world, while continuing to supply humanitarian aid, can do little to show
their disapproval of the Mugabe regime except by applying economic and other
sanctions against firms and individuals. Calls for sanctions to be lifted
have come from all sides though as Tony Hawkins points out, lifting personal
sanctions will not help the dire state of the economy or promote political
reform. The Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai has repeatedly called for
sanctions to be lifted although he now seems to accept that it must be
conditional on free and fair elections, including the Referendum on the new
constitution. The US has declared that it will not lift sanctions until
there are peaceful polls and reforms, Australia is reviewing the sanctions
issue and the UK announced that most of the names and companies on the
sanctions list will be removed – but not until after the Referendum has been
held. Commentators make the point that neither Robert Mugabe or his inner
circle are off the hook since EU sanctions remain in place against them.
Zanu PF, of course, dismisses all this talk of sanctions as ‘nonsense’ but
you can bet that, come Christmas, bigwigs of both parties will be itching to
come and do their shopping at Harrods again!
While we wait for the Referendum date on the new constitution to be
announced, there have been increasingly critical comments about the document
itself coming from different quarters. The draft constitution states that
dispossessed white farmers will not be compensated and neither will they be
allowed to challenge the takeover of their properties. In effect, the new
constitution has legalised the theft of land; it also stipulates that war
veterans, including we assume those who violently invaded the farms, should
be “recognised and accorded respect, honour and recognition” This, in spite
of the fact that a 2008 SADC Tribunal ruling declared the land grab was
illegal and that the farmers should be compensated. Not surprisingly, Zanu
PF are resisting a Land Audit which would reveal just how many of those
invaded farms have been allocated to the new elite. One particular white
farmer faces eviction after he permitted the MDC to hold a rally on his
farm. And around the country violent Zanu PF thugs continue to disrupt MDC
rallies. In Makoni South, the MP wants to know why there is a 400 strong
army battalion in his area. In the capital, Zanu PF thugs fight for control
of the commuter omnibus ranks in Mbare. Even the presidential spokesperson,
Didymus Mutasa has called for the disbanding of the notorious Chipangano
gang which he blames for losing his party support among the people.
The truth is that all is not well in Zimbabwe. The economy is in meltdown
and Mugabe and Zanu PF continue to behave as if they have some ‘divine right’
to rule the country. While the imposition of sanctions will solve none of
these problems, they do at least convey the world’s abhorrence at Mugabe’s
appalling human rights record.
Yours in the (continuing) struggle, Pauline Henson.